We just returned from a whirlwind vacation taking us from Seattle to Anacortes and the San Juan Islands. The beauty was incredible, but I wish there had been a little more time. Still, the days were a rewarding and energizing time for all of us. One area we particularly enjoyed exploring was Lime Kiln Point State Park on the southwest side of San Juan Island (directly across the Strait of Georgia from beautiful Victoria, BC).
While standing at a viewpoint and just taking all the scenery in last Saturday afternoon, I happened to overhear the young man and woman's conversation beside us. His remarks resonated with me, because they seemed so at odds with everything around us. He was explaining to his companion how this was such a great place to really think about one's self and meditate. (I guess the meditation qualities of the place must have been off that day, as the couple ended-up tailgating us aggressively back all the way to Friday Harbor in their aging compact bearing California plates.) How can such a display of God's handiwork turn us inward in such a silly display of self-absorption?
So, this raises the question: Is it really all about me? Is my self worth the most important thing, or is the Christian called to embrace the death of self, sacrificing himself for God and our fellow man? I remember being a Protestant in a Catholic school where the well-meaning teacher was attempting to instill in us students a value of self. A friend asked me later what I thought about the discussion. I pointed out the fallacy of the teacher's reasoning with a simple question. I asked my friend if that was the attitude Christ had when He went to the Cross? Was self the most important thing to Him when He allowed himself to be taken and crucified? Obviously, the answer is a resounding NO! . If that had been Christ's focus, He would have removed himself from the situation, refusing to sacrifice himself for sinners.
If we are to follow the example and teachings of Christ, in verses such as Galations 2:20, then we must ignore the teachings of the day and deny ourselves for He who saved us. It's through that daily denial and death of self that we become the people He created us to be.